In a recent Sunday newspaper, there was a circular from Bed Bath & Beyond, which featured a couple of QR Codes. One code was for a coffee maker, the other for a product called SodaStream, which turns tap water into carbonated water.
After reviewing a number of 2D-based ads like this one, I believe a new category needs to be created called 2D infomercials, not advertisements, but infomercials. A subtle difference, maybe, but a difference nonetheless. When the code is scanned, the reader of the ad is linked to a 2:38 You Tube video, which is essentially the same as a television infomercial. Nothing more. Nothing less. (How many times have I written that before?) No mobile website or page, no links to any other content or product information, no incentive to purchase, no store locator, no product reviews, no ability to share via a social network, no celebrity endorsement, no exclusive interview...need I continue.
Actually, I would consider this type of campaign to be less than an infomercial. At least with an infomercial, the consumer is provided with a phone number to call, an address to write to and/or a time period to act by, etc. There is none of that here.
Not only is there absolutely no experience to experience with this campaign but, from a pure print advertising perspective, do you see what's been done? For readers of the ad who might not have a smartphone or wish to scan the code, Bed Bath & Beyond has included a long URL next to the code. Does the company really believe/expect a reader is going to be so interested in this "revolutionary" product that they are going to go running to their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone to tediously enter a 42 character URL? Bed Bath & Beyond might, but I sure don't. Great that the company wants to be inclusive and offer the video to both smartphone and non-smartphone users alike, but there are other, more efficient, ways of doing this.
Also, why does the company and others refer to the QR Code as a tag? The symbol is a QR Code, call it a QR Code. Don't be afraid. And, why do we keep seeing the term "snap" in 2D-based ads? There is no snapping involved when scanning a code.
I have a sneaking suspicion that, when asked, Bed Bath & Beyond would say they are experimenting with 2D and that's why they only went this far with the campaign, if it can even be called a campaign. So, what happens next? The objectives for this "experiment" are not fully achieved and management rethinks the use of 2D, only to sideline it for months to come. Then what?
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL